We’re barely into 2015 and Charlie Wilson has already delivered what could be the best album of the year. Forever Charlie is the seventh solo album from the former Gap Band front man, and it is possibly his best. Uncle Charlie, as he has become known, has spent much of his solo work singing to the ladies on a whole array of excellent ballads, but now he’s going back to his Gap Band roots and has released some excellently funky tunes.
The album gets off to a cracking start with the irresistible ‘Somebody Loves You’, which sees Wilson deliver an impassioned vocal on an updated eighties groove style track, fitting his vocal style beautifully. The lyrics are not overly complex – indeed, this can be said for most of the album – but Uncle Charlie is not professing to be a lyrically genius, he’s simply creating desperately needed feel-good songs in a time of turmoil. ‘Somebody’ is a great album opener, and one perfectly suited to both the radio as well as the club scene.
Forever Charlie continues with a mid-tempo tune entitled ‘Touched By An Angel’, one of the album’s singles. ‘Just Like Summertime’ is another dance orientated style similar to ‘Somebody’; it’s a fun, up-tempo tune that’s delightfully easy on the ear. For the lovers among you expecting some classic Uncle Charlie lurving, well, he doesn’t disappoint: ‘Goodnight Kisses’ follows in the mould of his previous releases such as ‘There Goes My Baby’, and is certainly one for the romantics.
Perhaps the best, and most interesting, song on the album is the collaboration with the rapper Snoop Dogg on ‘Infectious’. Indeed, it is, well, quite infectious. Wilson and Snoop Dogg have a well-documented friendship: Snoop and his wife feature on the video for ‘There Goes My Baby’, yet their collaborations go back to 1998 with Snoop Dogg’s ‘The Snoopfather’, and ‘Snoop’s Upside Your Head’. On this album, Snoop is at his best, and appears somewhat tamed by Uncle Charlie; they both compliment each other without attempting to overdo or overpower one another. ‘Infectious’ has all the qualities to make it a massive urban R&B hit, and we hope so.
Uncle Charlie continues to wow not only with his incredible live performances, but also with his dedication to crafting excellent new music when it could be quite easy for him to simply tour, performing the Gap Band’s greatest hits. Yet as this album proves, there’s much more to Charlie Wilson than just ‘Oops Upside Your Head’.